Icon Bridges to Mexico: A Nativity Almsgiving Project
PHARR: Last year, after a 14 hour bus ride from the Texas border to Mexico City, Fr. Antonio Perdomo and his two teenaged daughters delivered three large boxes of icons to Orthodox Church in America Bishop ALEJO and Archbishop DMITRI during Vladika DMITRI’s annual Theophany season visit to Mexico. The Hierarchs and Clergy in Mexico received these gifts with great joy and thanksgiving. This year, the Perdomos hope to continue the tradition and to do even more.
“This is something that we, as Orthodox Parishes in the US can easily do to act as a bridge of support for the Orthodox Church in Mexico,” said Fr. Perdomo.
The Orthodox Churches and Missions in Mexico are challenged in several ways. First, it is difficult to access traditional Orthodox icons and liturgical supplies in Mexico, which is a largely Roman Catholic nation. Second, most mission parishes in Mexico live with financially demanding situations. Although more men are being trained, the nation as a whole has with few Orthodox clergy, and many of these must work full-time to support their missions because of the economically-challenged situation of Parishioners.
“Two years ago, when my sister and I first came with our dad to visit the Orthodox Churches in Mexico,” said University of Texas, Pan American student, Analucia Perdomo, “one of the first things my sister and I noticed was the lack of Orthodox icons in the missions we saw. It is very hard for them to find icons down there. It made us want to go home and do what we could to help out.”
After that 2005 Theophany visit to Mexico City, Fr. Antonio and his family decided to try to get the word out and encourage others here in the states to share from their abundance. Matushka Elizabeth added, “Most parishes in the States have a closet or shelf somewhere storing older acolyte robes or unused vestments. Often, when a church is remodeled, older icons are also just put into storage. Rather than letting these things gather dust here, it’s much better to share these holy things with mission churches which very much need them.”
In addition to larger sized, traditional Orthodox icons for use in Churches, various missions in Mexico need vestments, acolyte robes, altar coverings, censors and any other objects used in liturgical services. Since shipping and delivery to Mexico is both very expensive and extremely unreliable, Fr. Perdomo, rector of St. George’s Orthodox Church on the Mexican border in Pharr, Texas, continues to receive and hand deliver icons and liturgical supplies directly to Bishop ALEJO at the Cathedral in Mexico City.
“If every Parish in the US decided to give the Church in Mexico a Christmas present, what a wonderful thing that would be! And, it wouldn’t take much to do it, either.” Matushka continued, “If each Parish or Women’s Group or Church School class decided to raise money and buy just one, nice sized icon for the Church in Mexico – it would be such a blessing and would strengthen our fellowship with the Church there.”
“Or, if everyone just cleaned out their Parish closets and shared what they have stored in there,” continued Ms. Perdomo, “that would likely benefit every Orthodox mission in the entire nation of Mexico.”
To read more or to see photos from last year’s “Icon Bridges to Mexico” deliveries, please see: http://www.stgeorgepantry.org/iconbridges.html Please ship icons and liturgical items to: Fr. Antonio Perdomo, 520 W. Rosemary Avenue, Pharr, TX 78577. For more information, call 956-781-2388 or email Father at email@example.com